Pavan hoping for an Open mind in Kenya

2/12/2013 10:14:00 AM
Andrea Pavan (pic by Phil Inglis) ()
Andrea Pavan (pic by Phil Inglis) ()
Andrea Pavan thinks a return to the European Challenge Tour this year will bring the enjoyment factor back to his game as the Italian attempts to bounce back from a disappointing rookie season on The European Tour in 2012.

Pavan plays his second Challenge Tour tournament of the season at this week’s Barclays Kenya Open having finished tied for 25th at the season-opening Gujarat Kensville Challenge two weeks ago.

The 23 year old burst onto the scene two years ago when, in his first season on the Challenge Tour, he claimed two victories – including one at the prestigious Grand Final on the course to which he is attached, San Domenico Golf – on the way to finishing in second place in the 2011 Rankings.

After such a rapid rise, expectations were high but Pavan did not quite get the start he wanted to his European Tour career.

However, he feels another season on the Challenge Tour will help free the shackles he imposed on himself in 2012 and believes he has what it takes to make a swift return to the big stage.

“I didn’t have the start I was hoping for last year,” said Pavan. ”I wasn’t doing that badly but then I felt a bit of pressure to keep the card and I was worrying too much about numbers instead of just playing the game.

“I even stopped enjoying it and when you stop enjoying it, you worry too much instead of letting it come to you so that’s what happened.

“I know I have the skills to make it on The European Tour so it’s just a matter of finding the right frame of mind.

“I'm working on just enjoying it this year, especially in tournament weeks. It’s just a matter of letting it happen. It’s about the weight you put on yourself. If you start worrying too much it erodes your confidence and slowly that’s what happened last year.”

The man from Rome is now happy with his game and looking forward to a successful season, beginning with a positive result at the pristine Karen Country Club this week.

“I went to India with zero expectations but it was a good week and I played alright,” he said. “I had one bad round but you kind of expect that at the beginning of the year.

“It’s nice here at Karen - similar to Muthaiga, where I played two years ago. The greens are a bit firmer but there are some tricky holes and you have to hit it straight so it’s a good course.

“It reminds me of a few courses in Italy because it is tree-lined and the greens are quite small so it’s like an old-style course.

“I know I did well on the Challenge Tour two years ago and I can do it again. Like any sport you go through ups and downs and The European Tour was a big experience for me, I learned a lot. I had a good winter now and I practised the right things and played pretty well in India.

“Of course, I'm not where I want to be yet but it’s a work in progress.”